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Row over £215k ‘terror-link’ festival

Alex Salmond agreed to hand over £215,000 for an Islamic festival in Scotland following a meeting with a former military commander of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Documents obtained by The Sunday Times reveal Salmond approved the grant following the meeting between culture minister Linda Fabiani and Mohammed Sawalha, who is alleged to have directed terror operations in the West Bank.

The meeting, in January, was also attended by Osama Saeed, founder of the Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) and an SNP activist who is expected to contest the Glasgow Central seat at the next Westminster election. Sawalha was invited to take part in the meeting to discuss the funding of IslamFest in Glasgow next year.

The event, being organised by the SIF, is modelled on London’s IslamExpo, run by Sawalha. IslamExpo was boycotted by UK ministers earlier this year because of its links to Hamas.

The £215,000 Scottish government grant for the Islamic festival was given to the SIF, which has so far received £415,000 of taxpayers’ money. Sawalha, president of the British Muslim Initiative, was named in US court documents as a leading militant in the early 1990s “in charge of Hamas terrorist operations within the West Bank”.

• Full story at the Sunday Times.

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